butterfly garden

Yesterday, we set our Painted Lady butterflies free.  It has been a wonderful few weeks with them, but it was time.  The new caterpillars will be here in a couple of days, and we need to get the “garden” ready for them!

The Butterfly Garden kit comes with everything you need to successfully raise caterpillars to butterflies, including a postcard to send off for your caterpillars (paid for by the cost of the kit).  It took about a week for our caterpillars to reach us, and once they did, the fun began.

The instructions are really simple: place the cup where you can observe the caterpillars, but don’t open it or disturb it.  Once all the caterpillars hang upside down (about a week to 10 days out), then transfer them to the “garden”.  I really thought that would be the hard part, but it was really simple.  When you open the cup, all the caterpillars are suspended from a thin paper layer on top of the cup (similar to onion skin paper).  Simply tape the paper to the side of the garden and wait a few days.

We kept our butterflies for about a week.  We found that orange slices were the best things to feed them.  We would simply wedge about half an orange a day and slip it into the garden.  They were a lot of fun to watch for my little guy.  The entire process was relatively quick, and he never lost interest in watching them go from caterpillar to butterfly.  My older son created a journal and spent a good deal of time each day, writing and drawing his observations.  He even took his journal to school to share with his teacher.

We were sad to say goodbye to our little friends, but the weather is warm, flowers are blooming, and it was time.  We’ll start the whole process over again next week when our new buddies arrive.